Are you looking to improve your performance? If you’re tired of making lackluster progress in the gym, it might be time to take a look at your diet. Sometimes, the secret isn’t what you’re doing in the gym, but rather, what you’re doing in the kitchen.
Certain foods will really help augment your performance, give you non-stop energy, and help kick-start recovery so that you can see better results than you ever have before.
The following foods should definitely be part of your weekly menu, and here’s why.
Not only will salmon help you hit your protein quota, but it offers a strong dose of quality amino acids as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids are notable because they’ll help reduce inflammation, strengthen your immune system, and assist with improving overall insulin sensitivity, all three of which are important for the building of lean muscle mass tissue.
It’s important to note that salmon is more calorie dense than other lean sources of protein such as chicken or fish, so make sure to monitor your overall serving sizes.
Sweet potatoes are the next menu item that should be included among athletes. What do they offer?
Not only are they a powerful source of complex carbohydrates, but they also offer a good dose of potassium. Potassium helps optimize muscular contractions, making it one mineral you don’t want to be deficient in.
If you’re guilty of turning to the commonly used ‘clean carb’ source of brown rice, you could be falling short in potassium, especially if you do multiple intense workouts each week.
Coming in next on our list of excellent menu items to help improve your performance is spinach. Whether you choose to add spinach to your salad or your eggs in the morning, you should be making a point to include it in your day.
Spinach is a rich source of iron, which many people are lacking, especially if they’re on a fat loss diet and avoiding red meat. Iron is important for helping you sustain optimal energy levels during your workout session and preventing the fatigue that comes with iron-deficiency anemia.
Spinach is also loaded with antioxidants, which will help your body fend off free radical damage that can weaken all your systems and put you at risk for illness. When you’re training hard, you’re going to be creating more free radicals in your body, so it’s important that you have a good defense against it.
Finally, spinach is also incredibly low in calories. Considering the number of total benefits you get from it versus how many calories you consume, it’s one food that everyone can afford to eat on their menu.
It’s fairly well appreciated that egg whites are an excellent source of protein and will help with the muscle building process. But a big mistake many people make when they begin cleaning up their diet is throwing away the yolk.
Historically, the yolk has gotten a bad reputation. They’ve been associated to raising your cholesterol and contributing to heart disease, both very negative health conditions.
Now, however, we’re realizing that this isn’t the case and the yolk isn’t the culprit. The bigger leading factor to the rising cholesterol and cardiovascular heart disease rates we see today is the overconsumption of sugar and an unhealthy body weight.
In fact, your body needs some cholesterol on a daily basis to function properly. This is especially true for men because cholesterol is highly tied to testosterone production. You don’t want to overdo your cholesterol intake by any means, but getting a bit in from an egg or two, if you’re otherwise healthy, doesn’t prove to be a problem.
Additionally, eggs – including the yolks – are rich in nutrients. They deliver a powerful punch of choline, which is a nutrient that’s important for optimal brain function. They’re also a good source of folate, which is a key nutrient necessary for any female that may be expecting or are planning on becoming pregnant in the months to come.
Eggs also supply some vitamin D, which is a hard vitamin to find in food and is associated with the promotion of stronger bones. Vitamin D is also key for optimizing athletic performance, helping you achieve superior muscle strength and recovery.
If you want to elevate your testosterone, taking in sufficient amounts of zinc is key, and this is another mineral you’ll find in the whole egg. Finally, egg yolks are also a terrific source of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that will help promote great looking skin.
This highly versatile food is also calorie friendly with one egg yielding 70-90 calories depending on the size. They make great snacks as well as meals, making this item something that is great for helping you achieve your bodyweight goals.
Finally, the last food that will help boost your performance in the upcoming year is the banana. Some people believe that fruits should be avoided when fat loss is the goal, but the banana is one that you may want to retain.
What makes the banana unique from other fruits is that it actually has a relatively large component of starch carbohydrates, not just sugar. This starch is going to provide longer lasting energy and is also great for restoring muscle glycogen levels.
It still does contain some sugar which is excellent for giving you a quick boost in energy before a workout session. Having a banana before or after your training is an excellent way to get the carbs in that you require.
Bananas are also a rich source of potassium, which is a nutrient important for regulating muscle contractions.
These five great foods can help you take your athletic performance up a notch. Are there any on this list you’re currently missing out on? If so, add them to your grocery list for next week and start benefiting from them.